Silversmiths and Bit and Spur Makers
Shingle Creek, British Columbia
A desire to have authentic, top-quality silver-decorated tack for his horses prompted Thomas Pierre of Shingle Creek (near Penticton), British Columbia, to take matters into his own hands. At the age of 57, having spent much of his life as a working cowboy and ranch hand, he enrolled in Elmer Miller's respected silversmith school. His two sons, Lenny and Arlie, followed in his footsteps, and the family established Snow Mountain Bit and Spur.
Lower Brule Lakota
Rapid City, South Dakota
Mitchell Zepher learned the basics of metal work in 1972 from Frank Accaro, a Winnebago-Italian living in Vermont. When he returned home to South Dakota in 1974, people heard about his skill in silver work and began commissioning pieces from him. In 1977, he moved to New Mexico, where he learned to make Zuni-style jewellery from his cousins, and within two years he was supporting himself and his dependants through his metal work. In 1983, he opened a shop called Lakota Jewelry Visions and six years later formed Visions Inc.
Vernon Lynes, a Métis of Secwepemc ancestry, took a course in bit and spur making from Miller Bit and Spur in Nampa, Idaho, in 1988. Today, he lives in Bonnyville, Alberta, where he engraves, designs and creates bits and spurs, silver mounted headstalls and halters. His previous experience as a millwright and welder has contributed to his ability to create fine works of art and functional horse gear. In 1997, Vernon and his wife, Susan, opened a bronze-casting foundry and art gallery just outside Bonnyville.
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